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Asia, Tibet, Everest

Everest. Our expedition members consisted of Americans George Dunn, Larry Huntington, Charles Peck, Steven Potter, Scott Frantz, Dave Hahn, Curtis Fawley, Brent Okita, Paul Maier, Bob Sloezen, Andy Politz, Jason Edwards, Craig Van Hoy, Greg Wilson, medical researcher Jonas Pologe, Dr. Jean Ellis, video cameraman Markus Hutnak, geologist Dan Mann and me as leader, New Zealanders Michael Perry and Mark Whetu and Australian Michael Rheinberger. We reached Xegar on March 10 in two groups. Ten members traveled via Lhasa and accompanied the six tons of food and equipment that had been shipped to China in November, 1990. The rest came from Kathmandu with the 13 Nepalese (two cooks and 11 Sherpa porters). Propane fuel, oxygen and additional food was also brought from Nepal. Base Camp was established on March 13 at 16,900 feet at the roadhead. Camp III (Advance Base) was established with 50 yak-loads a week later at 21,400 feet. Eventually, 130 yak loads reached Advance Base. Severe weather and heavy snow made it impossible to establish Camp IV on the North Col at 23,000 feet until March 30. The route to the col was fixed. Camp IV consisted of eight tents, walled in and held down by nets. Extreme winds prevented Camp V at 25,600 feet from being established until April 21. Without the fixed ropes we put in on this part of the route, there would have been many days when we could not have climbed due to the extreme wind across the north ridge. Camp V was again an extremely windy site. Only four tents were able to withstand the beating here. Camp VI at 27,000 feet was established on May 7 after a long hard push that forced Wilson, Whetu, Okita, Edwards and Van Hoy all to spend the night in a tiny two-person tent. Every member who was healthy got a summit bid, as we had planned from the beginning. On May 15, the top was reached by Dunn, Politz, Sloezen, Lhakpa Dorje, Ang Dawa and me. On the 16th, Hahn, Rheinberger, Perry, Huntington, Ang Jangbo and Pasang Kami were turned back by wind. Perry stayed at Camp VI while the rest descended and made the summit solo on May 17. An attempt on May 21 by Wilson, Edwards, Van Hoy, Frantz, Whetu and Okita was partially stopped by the wind. Only Whetu and Okita were able to push on and reach the summit. Okita was forced to bivouac on the descent when he could not find the fixed ropes in the Yellow Band in the dark. Fortunately, he suffered no ill effects. Wilson remained at Camp VI for three more days and was joined by Mann for another attempt on May 24. Mann was forced to turn back, but Wilson reached the summit. All summiters used oxygen. After the climb, we removed all garbage from Advance Base to Base Camp. We sent approximately 8000 pounds of garbage to Xegar and left Base Camp spotless. The team left Base Camp on May 28 and all members returned home via Kathmandu.

Eric Simonson